In the last article, we talked about goal setting.  Now that you’ve gotten clear on your goals and what your plan is, it’s time to IMPLEMENT!  This is where most people hit their snags…and ultimately peter out.  And then their goals evaporate into the ethers, never to turn into reality.  Sigh.

How would it feel to keep that momentum of the New Year going, and be able to check something off your list every day that contributes to your larger goal?

Lucky for you, now is EXACTLY the right time to do this!  We just shifted into the Year of the Horse.  Right now, it’s all about freedom.  It’s all about liberation.  It’s all about ease.

Humans, like anything else on this planet, are subject to the laws of physics…and the one I want to talk about today is Newton’s first law of motion which is INERTIA; an object either is at rest or moves at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.

What this means is: That which is in motion will stay in motion, that which is at rest will stay at rest.

How is this relevant to you?

Changing speed and changing direction are, according to the above law, forces which require external energy.

Most New Year’s Resolutions do not get fulfilled because of the above law–change is an intrinsic part of the process, and if you don’t know where your external energy is coming from to facilitate this process– or you straight up don’t have the external energy to make it happen– then guess what?

Your changes won’t happen!

So how can you ensure that this year, your changes DO happen?

Hop on the back of your new 2014 horse, and utilize this amazing momentum!

Sit down with yourself right now.  Close your eyes.  Palms face up.  Breathe.  Start to become aware of the energies around you.  The ultimate desire of the universe is for you to have ALL the things you want.  You were put on this planet for a reason, and the universe knows that you need certain resources in order to offer your amazing, unique, beautiful gifts.  The universe INSISTS on helping you.  So get quiet.  Listen for the wisdom.  Listen for the advice.  It’s there!  Waiting for you.  Your inner wisdom KNOWS exactly what you need to do to get the things you need to move forward.

I love what Gahl Sasson, one of my favorite astrologists, says about The Year of The Horse:

Like a horse rider, before you mount to ride this year, make sure you know your final destination. Once you do, allow the spontaneity and synchronistic nature of the horse to lead you on the right path towards reaching your goal. The horse has inspired many myths: Pegasus that came out of Medusa’s head and ended up a constellation: leading the way from evil to enlightenment. Buraq, the white stallion that flew Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem on his pilgrimage to meet God. This year can be just as magical, profound and spiritual for you. Make the best of this year of the Wild Horse.

We already did the “final destination” part.  Now it’s time to ride!

Have fun!

Julie

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It’s the end of the year, you’re SO ready for 2013 to be over, and you know 2014 has got to be better than last year. 

However…you’ve stopped setting New Year’s Resolutions.  Or if you do, you just set them half-heartedly.  Why bother?  You won’t follow through on them anyway.  You never do.

Let this be the last time you think that to yourself.  Let this be the year that the whole-hearted goal setting is followed by real action that leads to real results.

I’m going to give you a super simple tip to help you in this process, and you’re going to be like, oh em gee, Julie, why didn’t I think of that?  And I’m going to be like, well that is why they pay me the big bucks.

So here we go. 

Prepare:  Start by taking a big piece of paper and listing out all the months (Jan-Dec) with plenty of space between each.  Get another piece of paper for other brainstorming and notes.

Step 1:  Identify your ONE big goal for the year.  Just pick one!!  If it helps, start by making a list of each area of your life (career, relationship, spiritual, financial, family, fitness/health…), list out all your goals in each of those areas, and then let that help you make a decision about your big #1 overarching goal.

Step 2:  Identify what action steps will help you achieve that goal by this time next year.  Turn those action steps into Quarterly Goals.

Step 3: Identify what should be achieved by the end of each month to help you arrive at each quarterly goal.  turn those action steps into Monthly Goals.

Step 4: THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP OF ALL!!!  Identify what beautiful daily and/or weekly routine you can establish for yourself to facilitate the achievement of your monthly goal.

FUN EXAMPLE: 

My #1 goal is to do handstand in the center of the room with no support by the end of the year.

Quarterly Goals: Jan-Mar: Master “floating” from downward-facing dog to forward fold.  Apr-Jun: Master balancing with the hips over the shoulders and the knees and feet off the ground for a few seconds.  Jul-Sep: Master balancing on the hands with the knees tucked to the chest for 5 seconds.  Oct-Dec:  HANDSTAND!

Monthly Goals:  Jan- Upper body-focused stregnth practices.  Feb- Core-focused stregnth practices.  Mar- Arm-balancing practices. Apr- All inversions, all the time.  May- Self-trust exercises on and off the mat.  Jun- Increase # of vinyasa flows in each practice to be between each pose.  Jul- Upper body + Core.  Aug- Advance arm balance practice.  Sep- Revisit inversion insanity.  Oct- Balance in handstand every day for 5 seconds.  Nov- Balance in handstand every day for 15 seconds.  Dec- Balance in handstand every day for 30 seconds!

Daily/Weekly Goals:  60-90 minute practice 6 mornings a week, every week, for the entire year.

 

What is your #1 goal this year?  What is your quarterly/monthly/weekly plan for achieving it?  Let me know in the comment section below!

Namasté and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Julie

 

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It’s so interesting to me how big the discrepancy is between how the media portrays Christmas (or any family holiday, for that matter) and the reality that most people experience.  The media paints a picture of togetherness, peace, companionship, and joyfulness.  Of miracles.

What’s the reality?

Unless you’re one of those special families who all get along perfectly, most of the time, Christmas reality looks like frustration, stress, anxiety, and emotional trauma.  A nightmare.

I totally relate to the second variety–for most of my life, family get togethers were hugely traumatic.  I loved the holidays in theory, but was annually disappointed by my real-life experience, for an array of reasons that aren’t particularly important.

What’s important is that it has all changed.

After almost losing my dad this year, the holidays took on a whole new tone.  The anxious nature of my typical expectations and the disappointment that usually ensued was no longer–this year, EVERYONE was so grateful JUST to be in each other’s company.  The simplicity of good food, supportive people, and a loving environment was more than enough.

In the end, expectations about what we think others could or should do JUST don’t matter.  Take a look at what is already in your world, and lovingly embrace it with a graceful smile.  We really all have more than we think.

Christmas this year was perfect.  I got to spend time with my dad, step-mom, and much of her family, and it felt so good to be all together.  The material gifts were nice…but the real gift to me was to see my dad laugh as others told stories, and to watch how the family all rallied together to help my step-mom create the best Christmas dinner yet.

Take it back to simplicity.  What is something you have been taking for granted that you can now lovingly embrace?  What will you do to shift?  Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Holidays and Namasté!

Julie

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Let’s talk about the BIGGEST question on all of our minds, especially during the holidays.  The question that keeps us up at night, the question that makes it impossible to wake up in the morning–the question that nobody really seems to actually ever know the answer to.  I’m going to say it RIGHT NOW whether you’re ready or not!:

How do I achieve perfect life balance?!

Realistically–how many times a day do you say this to yourself in one form or another?  Maybe it also sounds like, “I ran out of time so I can’t work out tonight like I planned.” or “Feeling a little depleted now–maybe I’ll have chips for dinner instead of making salmon.” or “I had to take my son to soccer and my daughter to her friend’s house and my husband’s shirts to the dry cleaners–so what is this thing you call ‘me time’?!”

Once you get into the habit of the daily drudgery, anything other than this typical routine of yours will sound absolutely alien!

So let’s start from the top.  What even IS life balance?  This is my interpretation:  Balance is the delicate dance of giving and receiving.

Think about how and where this can apply to your life.  Is your give/receive barometer out of whack?  Do you give more than you receive?  Do you receive more than you give?  Perhaps it’s inconsistent in different life areas?  Perhaps it’s totally consistent in each life area?

More likely than not, you give more than you receive.  And here is my simple suggestion for today to make a life-changing difference for you:

Cancel one obligation on your calendar this week.

Just one.  Start small.  And use THAT time to do something wonderful for yourself.  Take a bath.  Sit in meditation.  Journal about your amazing accomplishments of this past year.  Take the time to cook a REALLY delicious healthy meal.  Get a massage.

A friend of mine told me I needed to practice receiving more, and he’s totally right, hence the inspiration for this post.  So how about we take this journey together?  I’ve been spending every evening at the rehabilitation hospital taking care of my father who is recovering from a severe stroke, and today, in light of this important message, I spent the morning with him instead of the evening to be able to go to a beautiful yoga class with my friends and to support one of our other friends who is teaching the class.  I literally haven’t seen my friends in over a month since I stepped into the role of caretaker, and this is an important choice on my behalf that I know EVERYONE (not just me!) will benefit from.

And how about YOU?  Where can you rearrange your schedule to make room for love and joy?  Let me know YOUR action plan in the comments below!

Have a beautiful day and Namasté!

Julie

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So many people say to me, “Hey Julie, how do you stay so invincible all the time?  You’re never sick during the winter and I’m super jealous of your skin’s healthy glow!”

Or something like that.

But seriously, I haven’t been sick since I can’t even remember when (even when my close family/friends/partner is a sneezing, goopy mess), and I really do get a lot of compliments about my skin.

How amazing would it be to NOT get sick this winter season?  To be 100% healthy throughout one of the busiest times of year, and wake up feeling refreshed and excited about your plans every day?  This is not a fantasy–but rather an easy to accomplish reality with just a few very simple steps.  These steps can be implemented both as a preventative measure as well as a cure to whatever yuckiness you may be experiencing now.

Are you ready to hear my secret?

It’s a five-way concoction:

  1. Get lots of sleep Do whatever you need to do to make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep every night (or whatever your optimal sleep time is…everyone is different).  The body heals while we sleep, and it’s vital to not deprive ourselves of this essential window of opportunity.  If you think you can’t sacrifice the late night work hours or social time, imagine how much more time you will have to sacrifice not being able to work or hang out with friends because you didn’t get the necessary healing sleep in.
  2. Vitamin C, Zinc, Echinacea, Omega 3’s These supplements are essential to induce the body’s anti-inflammatory response and support your immune system as you navigate our germ-filled world.  The fact is, there are illness-inducing goobers EVERYWHERE so it’s very important that we equip our body with the necessary chemical compounds to keep them from taking over our own beautiful little microcosm.  Vitamin C and Omega 3’s are in my supplement routine throughout the entire year, and I add Zinc and Echinacea during this time of year when I feel I need that extra support.
  3. WATER I drag my Lululemon canister with me everywhere I go and I always keep it full.  Constantly flushing out the body with hydration does many positive things, including enhance weight loss and make your skin shine with vitality.  Staying hydrated is a key to staying invincible this winter season.
  4. Inversions – Many people see this one and cringe/see how they can avoid it.  Which is so silly.  While headstands and shoulderstands are incredibly supportive to the body’s lymphatic and circulatory system, you don’t need to be a full-on yogi to get the benefits of inversions.  If you want to start small, just lay against a wall next to your bed or the floor and swing your legs up.  Legs-up-the-wall pose brings you lots of the same benefits and is also extremely soothing for the nervous system.  Put a little pillow or blanket under your hips to receive added benefits.  Unlike your circulatory system, your lymphatic system doesn’t have a muscular pump.  Therefore, it relies on you moving around to be able to function effectively.  Inversions are a quick and simple way to get those lymphatic fluids flowing.
  5. Steam/Heat – If you belong to a gym, spend some time in the steam room and/or sauna.  Breathing in the steam helps clear the respiratory passages.  The lungs operate best when the air that we breathe is very warm, which is why we have a natural warming mechanism in our nasal passage, but help your body out a little by spending some time in a toasty sauna or steam room.  Not to mention, sweating is also an effective detoxification mechanism that helps your body remove troublemakers.  If you don’t belong to a gym that has these amenities, just take a long, hot, steamy shower at home.  Its healing properties cannot be undervalued.

And there you have it!  My Secret Concoction to Invincibility this winter.  If you want to avoid getting sick, make each of these steps a big priority in your life.  It’s a guaranteed way to remain healthy, and to wake up every morning feeling fantastic.

Which steps were your favorite, and what are you planning on adding into your daily routine?  Put your thoughts in the comments below and let me know what you think!

Have a beautiful day and Namasté!

Julie

 

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I recently wrote about the importance and power of believing in miracles.  The last decade represents a true spiritual awakening in my life and an openness to positive belief systems–but never before had it been tested the way it was tested this past week.  I had no space for uncertainty.  Simply put, developing a positive belief mindset was no longer just about me–it was about helping to save my father’s life. 
And it worked.

A miracle came through.  Three days ago my father– a young, athletic, and overall unlikely stroke patient– finally popped his eyes open– after over a week of being in and out of consciousness due to a hemmorhage in the right parietal lobe and motor cortex of his brain.  As of today he was fully awake and able to freely move his right side.
This whole experience with my dad and watching how he and his wife of three years–my amazing angel of a step-mom– interact, has given rise to an observation within me that I have never before thought about: the risks of love.

To fully love someone is to open your heart in a way that says, “No matter WHAT happens, we are in this together.”  This applies to romantic love, familial love, and the love that is shared between friends.

This also applies to the love of a business owner for their budding new entrepreneurial baby.

Or the love of a competitive athlete for their sport.

Or the love of an amateur trying a new, long-desired hobby.

Opening your heart to things outside of your personal control–people, businesses, competitions–is risky.

So why bother?  Why step into that kind of uncertainty?

We take risks because they are worth it.  My dad can’t speak yet (I have faith that he will be able to very soon!) but can communicate with a thumbs up and thumbs down.  I said to him, “You are so lucky to have her, aren’t you?” I said as I gestured to my step-mom.  He responded with a VERY enthusiastic thumbs up.  She gazed at him, in his half-paralyzed state, connected to tubes and wires and lines, and said with a loving smile, “I am so lucky to have him!!”

I risked a rewarding and successful career in academia to pursue an even more rewarding and even more successful career as a mentor, teacher, and coach.  Sacrificing employer benefits, association with a prominent institution, and the recognition brought by peer-reviewed publication, I risked it all–amidst a sea of uncertainty– to pursue a more heart-centered path that fulfills me by helping people directly and profoundly, not to mention that has ultimately filled my bank account much more prominently than my academic career ever did.

And what about you?

Is there an area of your life in which you wish you could take a risk, stepping out of your comfort zone, but your uncertainty is holding you back?  Can you resolve, even for just one day, to imagine how it would feel to take the plunge?  To love more?  To try more?  To BE more?

I would love to hear your feedback and comments.  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Have a beautiful day, many blessings to all, and Namasté.

Julie

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Never before have I experienced a time in my life when my cultivation of gratitude for the present moment and belief in the extraordinary had ever been more applicable.

Last week, we experienced a major upheaval in my family (by the way, thank you all so much for the emails and prayers–I know they are working) in the form of a very serious medical emergency.  My life is now changed forever.  As are the lives of my close family members.

Let me tell you, amidst this devastating change, it is SO easy to go into negative, downward spiral thinking.  Into panic.  Into self-pity.  Into extreme anxiety.

But that doesn’t help anyone, does it?  Instead, I’m learning to dig my heels into the Earth deeper than ever before.  How you do anything is how you do everything, thus, I know that by embracing the miracle of believing in a full return to “normalcy,” I am strengthening my miracle muscles to believe that it is possible to beat all the odds in every area of my life.

I went for a run this morning to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and get some fresh air when I realized that something about the look and feel of the experience reminded me of a Harry Potter movie— the wind howling, the red leaves swirling, the dark colors, the weird lighting.  Although Harry Potter is just a story, it represents a common experience to which we all can relate.   Even with the ultimate fear, the threat of death, Harry stood his ground and courageously faced the present moment.  And each time, miracles occurred.

On behalf of my family, as well as myself, it is vital that I believe with every cell in my body that miracles are possible.  As I deepen my practice of faith, courage, and gratitude in my own life, I invite you to come along with me on the journey.

The next time you experience yourself thinking “I could never do that,” or “This could never happen,” or “There’s no way…” see if you can alter your thinking–“I believe I can do x because I believe in miracles,” or “This will happen because miracles are possible,” or “There IS a way since miracles happen every day.”

Whether you are experiencing doubts in your health, relationships, career, spirituality, or family life, I invite you to cultivate a new approach–the “I believe” approach.  Flex YOUR miracle muscle and let’s find out what miracles we can cultivate.  Please comment below with your thoughts and experiences.

Have a beautiful day, and Namasté.

Julie

 

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You’ve started regularly practicing yoga or meditation or both.  You’ve glimpsed moments of bliss, moments of stillness, moments of peace.

You never before identified yourself as spiritual, but something about the asana practice and the sitting practice impart upon your consciousness a sense of peace that perhaps feels beyond this physical world.  It’s a bird’s eye view that has a simple message: “Just breathe, and all will be okay.”

You start to feel great.

You start to feel like you know all the answers, because all the answers are the same.

This simplicity inspires you, and the more you absorb this experience the more you want to share it with your partner, your family, your friends.

But they… don’t get it.

In fact, the more you talk about it, the more discouraged you begin to feel…”Am I not speaking English?” you wonder.

In a way, the “enlightened” path is indeed a process of acquiring a different language.  It is an absolutely new way of perceiving the world.  And it’s sort of like the experience of a color–could you describe the color red to another person?  No–they need to experience it themselves.  And until they do, there is going to be a breakdown in communication.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this story.  I’ve heard it among my students, clients, friends…and myself.

Yoga and meditation are game-changers.  It is a fact that you cannot do yoga or meditation and not not change.  And those who are not ready for the change will just discontinue their practice.

By its nature, yoga is heart-opening, yoga is humbling, and yoga makes you start to ask a lot of questions.

And as a result, one question that ultimately will begin to come up is “Am I relating to/spending time with the right people?”

If this makes you squeamish or uncomfortable, I am going to give you a piece of wisdom right now that will bring you right back to your center and give you a huge sense of peace:

Before you start to question the mindset/actions/choices of those around you, you must first question the mindset/actions/choices that you yourself are making.

The above gem is a lesson I learned from the spiritual leader, Eckhart Tolle, whom I have been listening to a lot via my podcasts and audiobooks.  When I first learned this lesson, it was like a blanket of light came over me and warmed me with relief and joy and peace.  Rather than assuming the responsibility and burden of worrying all about those around me–all I needed to worry about was myself.

So how about you?  In what areas can you grow and expand on your journey?  What are you going to do to make this happen in your life?  Please leave your comments and thoughts below 🙂

Have a beautiful day, and Namasté.

Julie

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This morning as I thought to myself, “What do I want my readers to know today?” the thought of self-confidence came up since that is an issue that comes up very frequently among my students and clients.  Minutes later as I was checking my email, I got this article in my in-box which confirmed my intuition.

So the first thing I want to say, as reiterated in the article, is that it is NORMAL to experience ebbs and flows in self-confidence.  And–as stated so articulately in the article– “if you don’t, you’re not playing your highest game.”  As we know in our yoga practice, being acutely uncomfortable is a good sign!  It means you are pushing your boundaries and making space for new growth and progress.  The amazing thing about the yoga practice is that it provides a safe space for us to explore this sense of discomfort, noticing our patterned reactions to it, and then practicing the art of sitting with that discomfort as it exists in us.  When we practice sitting with that discomfort on the mat, it has immediate off-the-mat and real-life applications.

Another point brought up in the article is the importance of “doing” versus just “thinking” as a means of building confidence.  While the part before “doing” might seem scary, in most cases the actual “doing” is not that scary, and most of all you will feel so proud once you come out the other side.  I love having my students practice arm balances because they almost always believe it is impossible or unattainable for them.  I remember feeling this way, too.  But it truly does not take long– perhaps even just a few days of practice– for the pose to become a reality for that person.  I love giving the cue to move from crow pose, to headstand, to chattaranga dandasana, because people look at me like I’m crazy, and then they try it, and actually do it!  They smile gleefully and proudly, and in that instant their self-confidence has sky-rocketed.

I attended a Mastermind with my coach a few weeks back, and she had a panel of speakers to whom we could ask questions.  One of the speakers, a pro triathlete coach, said that she sets a goal to accomplish something huge every morning.  For her, that means waking up at 5am and going for an open-water swim.  That truly sets the tone for her day and gives her a huge  self-confidence boost and feeling of accomplishment.

You don’t necessarily need to set your alarm for 5am to prepare for a swim in the Pacific, but you may want to consider setting your alarm to wake up and do something powerful to indeed set the tone for a powerful day.  Something that will boost your confidence, make you feel great about yourself, and give you the courage to know you can do it all.  Commit to yourself.

Please comment below with what you are going to do to create that exciting sense of self-confidence!

Have a beautiful day, and Namasté.

Julie

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When the universe wants me to do something, I know because I get 10 people with the same message coming at me with it at the same time.  So a few weeks ago, the universe decided that I needed to read Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.  Her book is particularly interesting and relevant to me right now because she takes a topic that I talk about a lot, Fear, and really digs much deeper.

Brené  Brown became a star because of her viral video where she talks about the power of vulnerability.  She is a researcher and academic, and her data suggests that vulnerability is the KEY to success, happiness, freedom, peace, and all those other things that people say they want.

In her book, she illustrates the point of how people LOVE to see other people being vulnerable.  We are so attracted to that.  But when it comes to ourselves–vulnerability is the last thing we want to put out there.

Why?

Because we are afraid of shame.

Do you see how this ties back into Fear?  We are so afraid of putting ourselves out there to do the things we would love to do because we are afraid of feeling shame–from being made fun of by those closest to us, from failing, from criticism…and so on.

This might sound a little scary or dark, but actually I find this perspective to be so refreshing.  I find this to truly be one of those situations where shining the light on the dark shadows makes it so that the shadows aren’t there anymore.  In fact, the mere act of reading her book makes me feel somewhat vulnerable, because the more I realize how important vulnerability is the more I realize how much more I need to show it!  I experimented in several different areas of my life, and tried it, and trust me, friends…it works.

So give it a go.  Try and soften a bit.  Whether you are a man or a woman, see what happens when you take down the walls and let someone [you trust] see the real you.  Try it just once.  Then try it once a week.  Then try it once a day.   No matter who you are or what your role is, evidence points to it being one of the most effective ways to achieve recognition, love, peace, and even joy.

I would really love to hear your feedback about how it works for you.  Also if you have read the book, what were your takeaways?  If you haven’t read the book, please go get it and read it and then let me know what you think! 

Comment below with your thoughts!

Have a beautiful day, and Namasté.

Julie

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